Gender Equality is at the Heart of
Humqadam’s Design Philosophy of Safe,
Secure and Inclusive Educational Environments
in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

19th March 2018

Written by: Abeera Ahmed/Islamabad
Photos credits: Khalid Khan, Humqadam/Lower Dir
Source: Khalid Khan, Humqadam/Lower Dir

(L): Students now attending classing in their new building
(R): Before Humqadam intervention scenes of students at GPS Asilo Kally studying out in the open

Girls’ education is central to Humqadam School Construction and Rehabilitation Programme (SCRP)’s vision of inclusive, equitable and secure school environment across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab provinces. Humqadam-SCRP is creating equal opportunities in education for boys and girls, in particular, by way of improved infrastructure, which also extends to the teachers, school administration and person with disability (PWDs). Alongside the provision of classrooms and toilets, complementary design features include ramps and PWD-friendly toilet blocks in order to create a truly inclusive learning culture.

Located in the far flung, remote village of Asilo Kally in District Charsadda, KP province, Government Primary School (GPS) Asilo Kally is the only primary schools in the area for miles on end. The school mainly serves the lower socio-economic end of the spectrum, comprising 109 families where majority of the people are small farmers.

Originally, the school was intended to be an all-boys one. However, due to lack of resources and schools, GPS Asilo Kally was re-purposed as a co-educational space. The school had only two classrooms and no toilet facilities for over 140 students, including 40 girls. The student: classroom ratio was at a staggering 70:1. Additionally, years of wear and tear forced the students to study out in the open, exposed to harsh weather. Lack of toilets and clean water was troublesome for all students, but especially tough for the young girls.

Adopted by Humqadam-SCRP in 2015, the school was provisioned with three new classrooms and rehabilitation of the existing ones. During the entire construction process which is two years, the community members took up ownership with many people volunteering as labour for construction.

The new building block at GPS Asilo Kally with well-lit classrooms

The classrooms feature windows with natural light and ventilation, and classrooms are spacious enough to accommodate the growing needs of the community. Every construction detail of the school is meant to optimise learning and create a healthy learning culture. Seeing the new and improved school, over 30 young girls got admissions in the new school year who are now easily accommodated in the new classrooms. The student to classroom ratio now stands at a healthy 36:1.

A girl student from GPS Asilo Kally said,

“I had to leave the school due to inadequate facilities, but after the new classrooms and a proper building block, I got re-admitted at the school. It now truly feels like a learning environment.”

Humqadam-SCRP has completed 180 schools across KP, of which 66 are girls’ schools including Higher Secondary Schools. These infrastructure provisions are yielding results in the form of greater community trust, increased enrolment and retention of girls within Humqadam-assisted community schools. Not only that, Humqadam is laying down a blue print of the minimum standard of quality, safe, secure and inclusive learning environment for communities and provincial education departments. Humqadam-SCRP’s intervention at GPS Asilo Kally prompted the Education Department to construct two toilets and provide two new teachers at the school, transforming the educational experience for the community of Asilo Kally.